- Cuomo Urged to Strengthen RGGI Solar Development Program

For Immediate Release: June 1, 2013
Travis Proulx, tproulx@eany.org, 518-462-5526 x238

Cuomo Urged to Strengthen RGGI Solar Development Program

Schools, Seniors, Not-For-Profits Big Winners in Development of Clean, Renewable Solar Power

AmherstAs the Cuomo Administration focuses attention on ways the state can fight climate change and modernize our energy infrastructure, a coalition of environmental, energy and business leaders, as well as public officials, are urging the Governor and his team to build on the success of a program that is powering New York with clean, renewable solar energy and moving us away from climate-altering fossil fuels.

Funds raised through the state’s program to cut climate-altering pollution from the dirtiest polluters – the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) – are empowering New York to reinvest funds generated from the sale of carbon pollution credits into clean, renewable solar power development through RGGIs’ Statewide Photovoltaic Program.

To date, RGGI has helped fund more than 365 solar photovoltaic systems, which collectively have added more than 3.5 megawatts of clean energy to the state’s energy grid.

“Carbon free renewable power, like solar, must be a part of New York’s energy future or we are making a big environmental and economic mistake,” said Conor Bambrick, Air & Energy Director for Environmental Advocates of New York. “The continued success of the RGGI climate program is contingent on Governor Cuomo implementing stricter caps on carbon pollution and prioritizing bold investments in the clean energy sector. RGGI works – it cuts pollution, creates jobs, and modernizes our energy infrastructure. Just think about what more good can be done through this important program.”

About RGGIs’ Statewide Photovoltaic Program

RGGI has provided incentives for residential, commercial and industrial solar installations, funneling clean energy funds to businesses like Solar Liberty Energy Systems that have completed projects across the state.

The RGGI funded Statewide Photovoltaic Program provides incentives for residential, commercial and industrial solar installations with an emphasis on strategically located projects that reduce peak loads and other stresses on the electric grid. The program has provided funding for 367 solar photovoltaic systems adding up to approximately 3.5 MW of generating capacity. As one of the only statewide clean energy funding sources, RGGI solar funds have also been used to stabilize Long Island’s successful Solar Pioneer Rebate program. Solar Liberty Energy Systems, recognized as 2011’s largest solar installer in New York by NYSERDA and the U.S. Department of Energy, has taken advantage of RGGI dollars to provide significant benefits to upstate communities. The firm has utilized state climate change funds to install a 25.2 kilowatt system on the gymnasium at Cayuga Community College.

Additional projects include:

·       Installation of solar arrays at St. Luke Apartments in Oswego and Eight Parrish Street in Canandaigua, affordable housing complexes for seniors and people living with disabilities. Both locations installed 26.2 kilowatt systems.

·       A 25 kilowatt system at the Geneva Community Center powering a gymnasium, lounge and crafts room for senior citizens, game room, performing arts space, art room, and  recording studio.

·       Installation of a 117 panel solar system at the Manlius Pebble Hill School.

About RGGI: An $850 Million Opportunity

RGGI is a nine-state coalition which has capped carbon pollution for energy plants at 165 million tons annually across the region while using money raised from the sale of carbon pollution credits to reinvest back into energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

Following the devastation to the Northeast caused by Hurricanes Sandy, Lee and Tropical Storm Irene, the Governors of the nine participating states reached agreement to lower the regional cap to 91 million tons beginning in 2014 (to better reflect actual pollution rates and ensure a ratcheting down of pollution in years to come) which will result in a significant increase in what has been rock-bottom prices for pollution credits in the past.

Since its inception, RGGI has raised $450 million for New York; with these changes, should the Cuomo Administration prevent any loopholes for dirty polluters, an estimated $850 million may be raised to modernize New York’s energy infrastructure.

The Cuomo Administration is conducting a regulatory review of RGGI headed by the Department of Environmental Conservation, NYSERDA and Public Service Commission through 2013.

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